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Lion to build Townsville micro brewery

Lion to build Townsville micro brewery

Lion has revealed plans to create a micro brewery in Townsville and launch a new North Queensland beer range.

An application has been lodged with Townsville City Council to repurpose a warehouse and carpark in the heart of South Townsville.

The proposed 340sq m brewery is expected to produce 200,000 litres of beer per year and will include a tap room and beer garden.

Kegged beer sales will be the initial focus, while a canning line may be added in future.

Lion’s general manager of craft, Gordon Treanor (above), told the Townsville Bulletin that if the application was successful, the company hoped to open the brewery later this year.

A unique range of beers were being considered for production, including an ale, mid-strength and lager. Legendary brewer Chuck Hahn and Eumundi Lager’s head brewer Chris Sheehan would also be involved in developing the products.

“We’re really excited about it,” he said. “It’s something for North Queensland specifically.”

Going up against Great Northern

Lion's move into Townsville follows CUB’s runaway success with Great Northern, which launched eight years ago in the Queensland market.

Named after CUB's first brewery in Cairns, Great Northern contributes 29.5% of contemporary draught beer value on premise  – Original 11.4% and Super Crisp 18.1%.

The 2017 ALSA-IRI State of the Industry Report showed Super Crisp and Original were two of the top three brands accounting for all liquor dollar growth in 2016. Despite only being available in Queensland at the time, Original was the third biggest contributor to dollar growth in 2016.

Great Northern Super Crisp is growing in value at 180% and Great Northern Original at 48.6%.

Lion development defies Queensland union claims

The Townsville brewery application comes after XXXX workers have gone on strike six times in six weeks over claims Lion is moving beer production out of Queensland.

Workers have now threatened to disrupt beer supplies before the State of Origin in July.

The United Voice union’s Queensland co-ordinator Damian Davie said the dispute was not about pay, but about staff standing up for keeping good jobs in Queensland.

“This dispute is not about pay,” he said. “XXXX workers currently have good jobs with decent conditions and we want to keep it that way.”

It's been revealed striking XXXX workers get 70 free cartons of beer a year and earn up to $45,000 more than the average Queenslander.

Along with average pay of $100,000-$130,000, the workers receive a slew of benefits, including cartons of beer, free drinks every weekday in the XXXX Alehouse, an extra day of holiday for the “liquor employees’ picnic day”, a Christmas bonus of two weeks salary, 50% leave loading and up to 12.5% superannuation.

The average Queensland full-time worker made $82,602 in 2017, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

XXXX brewery manager Irene Bell said: “We understand the importance of full-time, secure and stable jobs,” she said. “We also need the option to engage part-time or fixed-term workers, as well as third party labour to flex up our operations or cover leave.”